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Bibliotheca Hertziana

Rome, Italy
1 of 15Francesco Mattuzzi

The Bibliotheca Hertziana, research institutions for the history of Italian and Roman art, designed by Juan Navarro Baldeweg remodel an existing building, in the heart of old Rome, as new space and a working library. The design is an example of how to increase new spaces with a new volume into a historic context in a way that respects the various features – pattern, geometry, memory – of the surrounding urban context.

Juan Navarro Baldeweg's project managed to combine the tradition and history of the place by opening a courtyard where there was once the garden of Palazzo Zuccari and covering it with a trapezium shaped skylight. The reading rooms and book deposit have been developed around this space. The new library is convincing not only because of its size, transparency, and brightness but also for the seventy percent increase of linear space thanks to the adoption of a compact shelving system. The construction of a new building in the center of Rome took 17 years, subject to constraints for the protection of cultural heritage, represented a real challenge for the architects: the façades of the buildings could not be changed, nor was it possible to provide traditional foundations because of important archaeological finds. Italian archaeologists discovered the remains of a villa dating from about 60 BC belonging to General Lucius Licinius Lucullus.

Via Gregoriana, 28